Resons for my team why to stay with solidworks

The fact that FRC teams have access to community based Featurescripts is enough of a reason to use Onshape in my opinion. I finally took time this offseason to learn more Onshape. I can also go check in on my students’ work in their respective folders in Onshape’s Team portal. I love SW, but this is easier to teach kids with and collaborate with.

Arguments about employers not wanting Onshape users is moot in my opinion. We don’t necessarily train kids to get jobs through FRC, we train them to want to continue learning new things - an employer who doesn’t look at a prospective hire from that perspective would not be someone on my radar as an employer. I’ve been a Solidworks user for years, and the only thing I dislike in Onshape is assembly mates, but even that is just something to get used to. If you’re a person who isn’t used to learning new things and adapting, good luck in life.

It is no different than my work switching from R to Python or whatnot. The fundamentals are still there, you just need to learn to adapt.


This 100%, SW has a much better mating system.

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  • The school I’ve mentored for the last 3 years is 100% onshape curriculum
  • My college alma mater is now mostly onshape from what I can tell
  • We use onshape to design custom motors at my job

I have no idea what job market this is, because based on my many conversations with recent WPI ME/RBE graduates (who are well versed in all 3 major CAD programs), this isn’t true. New ME/RBE grads in today’s market should be expecting to submit 100-300 job applications before an offer, although you can get an offer in as low as 5-10 if you’re lucky or have good connections. Is this another “wear a suit and give a firm handshake” thing?


I’ve grown to be neutral on the mating system; I usually look at Onshape’s mate connectors as local coordinate systems, which I’ve used a lot in my past 2 jobs using Creo. I do wish you could do traditional mates in addition to the mate connectors though, as sometimes it doesn’t work exactly as you hoped the first time. I think the best an the worst thing about Onshape is it let’s you get away with some “bad” modeling practices, like not fully defining a sketch.

If Onshape was only a beginner CAD program, I don’t think PTC would have bought it and invested heavily into it.


Is there some kind of setup or browser configuration that needs to be done? my experience with solidworks on a bad computer is leagues better than onshape on ANY computer when trying to view complex assemblies. tbf i have only used onshape to view publicly released robot cad, but dang is it painfully slow.

There are strategies that make it more effective. Keep in mind if a team uploaded their robot as a Step file it may be in onshape but it won’t be optimized.

For our team we have a separate document for each subsystem, this really speeds things up. There are other strategies when designing that make a huge difference in load times.

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Some of the featurescripts can also add a ton of time to part regeneration. We had a few tube conversions in our shooter assembly and it took about a minute to load after opening it. But that more came down to using the tool wrong.

Also, the time lost there was made up for in the time gained in data management and top-down design. It’s really nice not needing to worry if uploaded their changes, not needing to manage a COTS parts library, being able to quickly look back at previous revisions, and being able to quickly reference parts of of other parts in part studios.


I think you will probably be better served by Onshape, and learning the new UI will be much faster and easier than you expect. If you spend an hour or two a week from now until school starts, you’ll be a pro. They’re really very similar, with only a few key differences. But for the sake of argument, here’s a few reasons a team might be justified in staying with Solidworks:

  1. You have terrible internet in your workspace. Onshape really needs decent internet to work; if your internet is super slow or constantly drops connections, you will have a bad time with Onshape.
  2. You have a significant (more than just free licenses) sponsorship and relationship with Dassault Systemes, which relies on continuing to use their product.
  3. Training students to be able to walk out your door and into a CAD-based job/internship is a big priority. If your students are generally following a standard high school + high school robotics → college → college internships after sophomore year → graduate → job, I don’t think this applies so much. As I said, it’s pretty easy to pick up a new CAD system. But if, say, your city has a robust tech internship program for current high school students, and you often have students land tech internships while still in high school in part because of their SolidWorks skills, that might be a persuasive argument.
  4. Your mentors use SolidWorks and are not available/interested in learning a new system. I would generally still argue that they should learn it (as I said it’s not that hard or time-consuming), but they are also volunteers and I respect an answer of “I can’t put in a single hour more than I already am”.

I’m definitely adding “CAD software” to “politics and religion” after this! LOL!

Just to generally respond to the question of whether I tried OnShape sufficiently, I spent about 20 hours with tutorials and doing my own stuff over the course of two months to try it out. I have used Solid Edge (my personal choice, though not what I would recommend for others starting out), Fusion 360, Inventor, Creo, very limited amounts of Solid Works, and Sketch Up (which I include as an example of a truly worthless CAD package for robotics). So, even though I’m not as well versed as some, I think I have a good basis for comparison.

To the folks who chimed in with positive counter arguments, fair points all. I may disagree with many of the points, but I greatly appreciate the additional information provided to the discussion.


Can someone further elaborate on this?

Our school computers really struggled running onshape, I knew they were piles of crap, but it seems to be common opinion that worthless computers can still run onshape.

I’ve only used onshape to view/measure the field, I’m like 99.9% ignorant on it.

The official field onshape document is a massive document - every individual bolt is included and it can take a long time to load.
This page has great information on how to improve the speed: OnShape help: Performance Considerations
Keep in mind there may be other factors with slow internet. We had issues and discovered the network backup was running during our build sessions. They changed the start time to 3am and we found a huge increase in our internet speed for onShape and other web pages.


This does get said a lot but, in my opinion, it should be taken as hyperbole. Onshape will certainly run on a much lower end computer than Solidworks or Inventor but there are limits.
As mentioned, the field is an enormous model for any CAD system to handle. It has a much higher part count than any typical robot ever would have. Try working either in the sub-assemblies of the field or find a copy of the field in low detail using the Onshape search. Typically, some team will post this within a few days of release. Just make sure to check a few dimensions against the real field to make sure the low-detail version is correct.
For some performance perspective, we have a bunch of decommissioned workstation class laptops that we run Onshape on. Some of these are over 10 years old at this point. A couple years ago they became too slow to run Onshape on Windows anymore. A reformat to Linux and they run great now. These computers stopped being able to run Inventor at any reasonable level back in 2019. In 2018 it took over 24 hours just to install Inventor on the older machines.


If you are using a computer that has both integrated graphics and a higher powered GPU, you may need to configure Windows to use the GPU for the browser in order to see the best graphics performance. Onshape also has this Performance Recommendations page which may be helpful.


Makes sense, general best-practices from elsewhere also apply to onshape.

Good point here, alas, school IT department isn’t so fond of having their malware security removed.

My team faced similar accessibility issues with SOLIDWORKS, but we found xDesign, which offers cloud-based tools and simplifies project sharing among multiple team members working on a project.